California offers a large amount of open land for camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking. There is some great trophy hunting in CA. There are many different species of big game, small game, upland game, and furbearing mammals alike. The climate and landscap varies widely across the state, which adds to California’s diverse selection of game species.Hunting In CaliforniaWhat to HuntWhere to HuntLicensing FeesHunter Education CertificateYouth HuntingTrapping
What To Hunt In California
Hunters in California have many options, from furbearing mammals and small game to large game and trophy species.
Deer Hunting In California
California has six mule deer subspecies that can be found in high desert foothills, in the mountains along the coast, high in alpine meadows, and other areas around different parts of California. Most hunting zones in California run from August through October, with specified seasons for archery hunting with a hunting bow.Check out our California Deer Hunting page for more information.
Bear Hunting In California
The Black Bear is abundant in California. The season is longer than deer season, and part of bear season runs concurrently with deer season. Bear season starts in August or September, and typically runs through late December, or when 1,700 bears have been reported as harvested. Check out our Bear Hunting Page for more information.
Pronghorn Antelope Hunting In California
Pronghorn are found mostly in the northeast region of the state. There are limited opportunities available for hunting pronghorn in California, and you must apply for a tag through the big game draw system. Pronghorn season is typically in August or September.
Elk Hunting In California
Elk hunting opportunities in California is very limited, with a limited number of draw tags available. Elk populations in California have been increasing the last several years. Elk can be found in Northern California, in western Central California, as well as the Inland Deserts Region.
Wild Boar Hunting In California
Wild pigs, or wild boars, are a very destructive species in California, and for most land owners are considered a nuiscance. You can hunt them year round. Wild pigs can be found west of the Central Valley, from Mendocino to San Luis Obispo counties. They also have special pig hunts at several areas, such as Camp Roberts, Carizzo Plains Ecological Reserve, San Antonio Valley Ecological Reserve, Tehama Wildlife Area, and Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area. Check out our Wild Boar Hunting Page for more information.
Waterfowl Hunting In California
California has a large variety of waterfowl species. Such as goose, duck, scaup, and black brant. They can typically be hunted during late fall and early spring months. Check out our Waterfowl Hunting Page for more information.
Upland Game Bird Hunting In California
California has many different types of game bird species. Some of the top ones for hunters are the wild turkey, pheasant, quail, chukar, and grouse. Turkey have two seasons, one in the fall and one in the spring. Turkey and quail can be found in many areas throughout the state.Other California game species like Bighorn Sheep, Small Game Mammals, Raccoon, Turkey, etc. are found in the "California Hunting Seasons" section at the bottom of the page. A nice additional to help you cook a turkey, is to buy a nice turkery fryer. Have turkey ready and on the table in about 45 minutes. Top Hunting Gear and Supplies at this link.
Where To Hunt In California
Due to the large amout of open land space in California, there are a large number of areas available for public hunting. A great tool to have in your hunting arsenal are nice GPS and Hunting Map, which are available at this link.
Hunting On Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves In California
California has over 1,000,000 acres of wildlife areas and ecological reserves, which are supported by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. These areas are subject to their own regulations and hunting restrictions.
Hunting On US Forest Service Lands In California
The US Forest Service has lands available to hunt in CA that provide great hunting opportunities with lots of different species of animals to hunt. Hunting On Bureau of Land Management Lands In CaliforniaAlmost all of the California BLM lands are open to hunting and shooting. On these lands throughout the state, you may find any of the huntable species available for hunting in California, depending on which part of the state that you are in. There are over 100,000,000 acres of BLM hunting land in California, and about 99% of it is able to be hunted.
California Hunting Clubs
Various privately owned hunting clubs exist in California. These clubs must follow all state and federal hunting regulations, and they might even have additional restrictions in place in addition to the state and federal regulations. These clubs are expensive to join, and to maintain membership each year, but many of them provide great hunting opportunities that you just can’t get on public lands.
California Hunting Licensing Fees
A hunting license is required for any person to be able to hunt wildlife in California. There is no minimum age to get a hunting license, but the completion of a hunter’s education course is required. The hunting license fees below were accurate at the time of writing this article, but the fees do change every year, they almost always go up. On top of hunting license fees, for many of the animals there is also a hunting tag that must also be purchased. Some of the tags do have age restrictions with a common age restriction being 12 years old or older.Resident Hunting License$51.02Nonresident Hunting License$178.20Junior Hunting License$13.53One Day Nonresident Hunting License$51.02Disabled Veteran Reduced Fee Hunting License$7.73Duplicate Hunting License$11.37
California Hunter Education Certificate
California requires hunters to take the hunters education training and obtain the education for any hunter who has never held a California hunting license or hunting education certificate. If you have a hunting license from another state issued within the prior two years, you may be exempt from this requirement. You can take classes online, take classes in person, or a hybrid class of online and in person. More info can be found on the California Fish and Wildlife website.
Youth Hunting In California
Throughout the year, California fish and wildlife does designate certain days as youth hunting days. Youth hunters must be licensed just like adult hunters. There is no minimum age for purchasing a hunting license. The special youth hunts are a great opportunity for young hunters to get the chance of a lifetime to hunt in trophy hunting grounds that are not available to most hunters, or during certain times. This is a great opportunity to get young hunters excited about the sport of hunting in California.
Trapping in California
Trapping is generally prohibited in California. It is unlawful for any person to trap any fur bearing mammal or nongame mammal with any body gripping trap. This includes both commercial and recreational trapping. Special licensing is typically available for persons who trap fur bearing or nongame mammals for pest control purposes.
California Hunting Seasons
DeerJul 9 2022 - Nov 27 2022BearAug 20 2022 - Dec 25 2022PronghornAug 6 2022 - Sep 11 2022ElkJul 31 2021 - Jan 9 2022Bighorn SheepAug 21 2021 - Feb 6 2022Wild PigYear RoundWaterfowlOct 2 2021 - Jan 31 2022Upland Game BirdsAug 21 2021 - Feb 28 2022Small Game MammalsJul 1 2021 - Mar 20 2022RaccoonJul 1 2021 - Mar 31 2022Fall TurkeyNov 13 2021 - Dec 12 2021Spring TurkeyMar 26 2022 - May 1 2022Nongame Furbearers Varies for each speciesHunting dates for each species may vary by zone, method of take, or subspecies of animal. Visit the state’s website here to find out more. The information provided in this article is provided for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up to date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. You will need to review the hunting regulations and laws in your start and your specific area before hunting.About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best California Hunting Guide Experience Awaits!